Fernando Reyes Medina Named to BAFTA’s “BAFTA Breakthrough” List

Fernando Reyes Medina is having a breakthrough moment…

BAFTA has named its BAFTA Breakthrough participants for 2020, with the Mexican game designer among the the 34-strong list of rising talents in film, games and television from both the United States and United Kingdom.

Fernando Reyes Medina

Reyes Medina is a game designer at 343 Industries, designing and creating exciting new experiences for the upcoming Halo Infinite. Born and raised in Mexico City, he graduated with a computer science degree from Tec de Monterrey. He’s the co-founder and the LATAM director for Latinx in Gaming, a 501c3 non-profit organization focus on helping members from the Latinx community to succeed in the gaming industry.

The organization’s Breakthrough showcase was expanded earlier this year to take talent from the U.S., India and China. Applications for India open at the end of this month and China will open in 2021.

The selected talent will receive mentorship and career guidance, plus access to BAFTA networking opportunities. They’ll be showcased together in 2021.

The selection jury this year included Paapa Essiedu, Fiona Shaw, Edward Enninful and Amma Asante.

“We are thrilled to be announcing our first ever BAFTA Breakthrough participants in the USA alongside those for our seventh year in the UK,” said BAFTA’s Amanda Berry. “This year’s cohort is such a strong and inclusive list, revealing the future stars of our industries. We are delighted to be partnering with Netflix again this year, which is supporting the global expansion of Breakthrough into the USA and India. Netflix shares our vision to raise awareness of and celebrate emerging talent from an array of different backgrounds and cultures.”

Here’s a look at those being named to the Breakthrough list:

UK

Abigail Dankwa, Multi Camera Director (Love Song)
Aleem Khan, Director / Writer (After Love)
Ali Tocher, Game Audio Designer (Surgeon Simulator 2)
Amir El-Masry, Performer (Limbo)
Ben Sharrock & Irune Gurtubai, Director / Writer & Producer (Limbo)
Bethany Swan, Hair and Makeup up Designer (I May Destroy You)
Bim Ajadi, Director (Here Not Here)
Bukky Bakray, Performer (Rocks)
Catherine Unger, Artist/Co-Writer (Tangle Tower)
Chella Ramanan, Narrative Designer/Writer (Before I Forget)
Claire Bromley, External Game Producer (Sackboy: A Big Adventure)
Jordan Hogg, Director (Ackley Bridge)
Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor, Producer (Blue Story)
Lea Schönfelder, Lead Game Designer (Assemble With Care)
Linn Waite & Kate Byers, Producers (Bait)
Rina Yang, Cinematographer (Sitting in Limbo)
Rubika Shah, Director/Writer (White Riot)
Ruka Johnson, Costume Designer (Blue Story)
Tamara Lawrance, Performer (The Long Song)
Tim Renkow, Writer/Performer (Jerk)
Youssef Kerkour, Performer (Home)

U.S.

Aadip Desai, Writer (The Goldbergs)
Arnaldo Licea, Game Designer (The Last of Us Part II)
Edson Oda, Director / Writer (Nine Days)
Ekwa Msangi, Director / Writer (Farewell Amor)
Fernando Reyes Medina, Multiplayer Designer (Halo Infinite)
Gene Back, Composer (Cowboys)
Jim LeBrecht, Co-Director (Crip Camp)
Lauren Ridloff, Performer (Eternals, The Walking Dead)
Mary Kenney, Game Writer (Spider-Man: Miles Morales)
Nicole Newnham, Co-Director (Crip Camp)
Shannon DeVido, Performer (Insatiable, Difficult People)

Tanya Saracho Among Top TV & Film Creators Demanding More Latinx Representation in Hollywood

Tanya Saracho is calling for more Latinx representation in Hollywood…

The Mexican playwright, screenwriter and actress is among some of the top creators in television and film who are demanding for change when it comes to Latinx representation as Hispanic Heritage Months comes to an end.

Tanya Saracho

In an open letter to Hollywood more than 270 Latinx showrunners, creators, and television and feature writers, including Saracho, Lin-Manuel MirandaGloria Calderon-Kellett, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Steven Canals, John Leguizamo, Linda Yvette-Chavez, Carolina Paiz, Marco Ramirez, Javier Grillo-Marxuach and more are calling for systemic change in the entertainment industry.

The letter begins: “As we come to the end of Hispanic Heritage Month in the midst of a global pandemic and continued racial injustice, many of us in the Latinx community have found it difficult to celebrate. Inspired by the activism of the Black and Indigenous communities, many of whom also identify as Latinx, we stand in solidarity with our fellow Black, Native and Indigenous writers, co-signing their WGAW Open Letters and echoing their demands for systemic change in our industry.”

“As Latinx Showrunners, Creators, TV and Feature Writers, we are incensed by the continued lack of Latinx representation in our industry, especially among the Black and Indigenous members of our community,” the letter continues. “Our stories are important, and our erasure onscreen contributes to the persistent prejudice that prevents real change in this country. This prejudice is not as overt as the one that keeps immigrant children in cages and separates families at the border, or as violent as the racism that is killing our Black, Brown, and Indigenous community members at the hands of police.”

“But when we are onscreen, we’re often relegated to stereotypes or villains. And as a recent​ ​New York Times OpEd​ states, ‘White elites cannot muffle a huge, vibrant community for decades and not expect consequences. For Latinos in the Trump era, these consequences are deadly, from Hurricane Maria to the Walmart shooting in El Paso and the pandemic, as well as soaring hate crimes.’”

The letter points out that the Latinx community makes up 18.3% of the U.S. population but it is not reflected in film and TV. There are only 4.7% feature writers and 8.7% TV writers that are Latinx. As Latinx writers move up to Showrunner level, the stats only get more dismal. “By refusing to tell our stories AND by refusing to put us in charge of telling them — Hollywood power brokers are complicit in our exclusion,” the letter remarks.

This is even further supported by a recent study from CAA and Parrot Analytics, which shows that even though television shows are a lot more diverse than they were three years ago, not all racial and ethnic groups were equally well represented in scripted debuts. Latinos and Hispanics remain significantly underrepresented despite being one of the fastest-growing demographics in the country.

While there are shows like One Day At A Time that having managed to get multiple season orders, there have been other Latino-fronted shows in the past years, like The Baker and the Beauty and United We Fall — that have been canceled before getting the chance to find their footing beyond one season.

The letter can be summarized with three words included heavily throughout: “We are tired.”

The open letter does not mince words with the demands and draws out exactly what needs to be done including creating stories for and about the Latinx community by Latinx creators; greenlighting Latinx-fronted projects; respecting all aspects and intersections of the Latinx cultural representation; and hiring Latinx creators for non-Latinx projects.

The letter, which was posted on social channels with the hashtag #EndLatinXclusion, closes with “Stories are powerful. Stories change the world. Let’s get on the right side of history so we can continue to create needed change and tell captivating stories together.”

This initiative was launched by the Untitled Latinx Project (ULP) founded by Saracho. It’s an all-Latina advocacy group formed to increase representation of Latinx created stories for television. The goal of this call to action was uniting the professional community of Latinx writers, creators and showrunners.

Read the letter in full here.

Residente Signs Multi-Year Venture with Sony Music Entertainment to Launch 1868 Studios and Create Authentic Latinx Content

Residente is expanding his empire…

The 42-year-old Puerto Rican rapper, singer, writer, filmmaker, and member of Calle 13, whose real name is René Pérez Joglar, has signed a multi-year venture with Sony Music Entertainment to launch 1868 Studios.

Under the new deal, Residente and Sony Music Latin/Iberia will create, produce and globally distribute original content that focuses on bringing the authentic representation of cultural narratives including Latinx stories in front of and behind the camera.

Residente will lead the charge when it comes to creative aspects of the partnership. He’ll write and direct inclusive television shows, films and other on-screen content that will be distributed across multiple platforms.

1868 Studios commits that Residente will collaborate with an international creative consortium of writers, directors, on-screen talent, musical artists, and visual artists to provide creative services for a robust slate of new projects.

Sony Music Entertainment will provide its expertise in content creation, marketing and monetization to enhance the scale and scope of the studio’s work.

“There are much more important things than talking about million-dollar businesses in the midst of a pandemic, where unemployment is becoming a larger issue daily,” said Residente. “But, together, we are announcing that under this venture there will be employment opportunities for Latinos around the world.”

He added, “Throughout my career, I always knew that rap would be the vehicle that would lead me to fulfill my true passion, cinema. We are going to make films, TV series, documentaries and all kinds of visual content, where the main priority will be creativity. I am proud to have friends like Rob Stringer, Afo Verde, and Tom Mackay, who understand the great power of the intangible values of art.”

“Residente is a creative genius whose work has inspired the global music industry for many years and whose vision has inspired LatinX creators and communities all over the world.” said Afo Verde, Chairman and CEO, Sony Music Latin, “This partnership enables us to channel his vast expertise and develop engaging and diverse content for audiences everywhere.”

Residente made history as one of the most Latin Grammy-winning artists as a member of the group Calle 13 and as a solo artist. He attended the Savannah College of Art and Design, which helped fuel his passion for cinematography, which he has incorporated into his music career.

His work has garnered the respect of his industry colleagues through his approach on award-winning music videos and feature-length films, including his own documentary called Residente which chronicles his journey to make his first solo album.

He has been acknowledged for his contributions to many philanthropic causes and organizations and serves as an ambassador of Amnesty International and was the recipient of the Recognition Award at the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in 2015.

John Leguizamo to Take Part in Upcoming CBS Special “Essential Heroes: A Momento Latino Event”

John Leguizamo is helping to honor this year’s coronavirus pandemic warriors…

The 56-year-old Colombian actor and stand-up comedian will take part in CBS’ upcoming special Essential Heroes: A Momento Latino Event. 

John Leguizamo

Leguizamo is among a roster of new additions to the special that includes José Andrés, Arturo Castro, John Leguizamo, George Lopez, Isabela Merced, Rita Moreno, Ana Navarro, Freddy Rodriguez and Wilmer Valderrama.

 

The event will be produced and hosted by Eva Longoria. Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan are also set to co-host.

 

The star-studded lineup will join the show, created by Henry R. Muñoz III and directed by Ron de Moraes, to celebrate Latinx culture while also shedding light on those in the community that have been heavily impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic and those who play an essential role in fighting COVID-19.

Apart from the array of Latinx voices speaking at the event, the event will also feature musical performances, comedy pieces and docu-shorts aimed to spread awareness on the Latinx experience.

 

The special follows Longoria’s recent launch of a lifestyle site for the Latina community, She Se Puede, that covers fashion, health, culture and voting.

 

Essential Heroes: A Momento Latino Event will broadcast Monday, October 26 from 9:00-10:00pm, ET/PT on the CBS Television Network. Audiences can also stream the event live and on demand on CBS All Access.

Becky G Interviews Kamala Harris & America Ferrera on Her Multimedia Podcast “En La Sala”

Becky G is bringing in some big guns to talk politics and more…

The 23-year-old Mexican American singer/rapper’s new voting-themed episode of her En La Sala multimedia podcast features Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris and actress America Ferrera.

Becky G

The candid conversation, which went live Tuesday (October 6) exclusively on Amazon Music with corresponding video on Amazon Music’s Twitch channel, touches on a wide range of topics including Harris’ experience as California’s attorney general, the importance of voting on November 3 and 2Pac.

“This is one of the biggest moments in my entire career,” Becky G says in the episode’s trailer. She also speaks with Ferrera about She Se Puede, the new nonprofit the actress and activist founded to pursue social justice and support civic engagement for Latinas. The episode will also be dedicated to the Latino Community Foundation, a nonprofit working to increasing political participation of the Latinx community in California.

Becky G is confirmed to speak at this year’s virtual Latin Music WeekThe hitmaker will join Jorge and Hernán Hernández from the iconic norteño group Los Tigres del Norte to discuss the role artists currently play in engaging Latino voters who for the first time in a presidential election are the nation’s largest racial minority among eligible voters this year with a record 31.6 million Latinos eligible to vote. They will also chat about the immigrant experience as seen by two generations of Mexican-American artists. To reserve a spot and receive updates, RSVP here.

Eva Longoria to Host the Latino-Themed CBS Special “Essential Heroes: A Momento Latino Event”

Eva Longoria is celebrating the Latino population in a special way…

The 45-year-old Mexican American actress and former Desperate Housewives star will host an evening that shines a spotlight on Latino culture in America with Gloria Estefan and Ricky Martin.

Eva Longoria

Essential Heroes: A Momento Latino Event will herald America’s diversity with a focus on Latino culture. The CBS special will not only highlight the different facets of Latino culture, but will also bring attention to those in the community who’ve been deeply impacted by COVID-19, including essential workers.

The special will air on October 26 on CBS and CBS All Access.

“When COVID-19 hit the United States, people were quick to applaud our essential workers, many of whom are Latinos, for helping to keep food on our tables, delivering our packages and working in our healthcare system,” said Longoria. “The Latinx community has been the backbone of this country for hundreds of years, not just the last seven months, and it’s time that we not only know our own worth, but are also recognized, appreciated and celebrated accordingly for our contributions, pandemic or not.”

The one-night special, created by Henry R. Muñoz III and directed by Ron de Moraes, will feature musical performances, comedy sets, docu-shorts and appearances from notable Latino stars. CBS will announce performers and stars to participate at a later date.

“We created Momento Latino because we understand the challenges that Latinos in America face every day, and we knew we had to bring together a national infrastructure of opportunity to move the community forward into the future,” said Muñoz, founder of Momento Latino. “We’ve brought together more than 130 organizations, nonprofits, artists, activists and community leaders so far, and through this special we can share with the nation the inspiring stories of how Latinos served as the backbone of this country’s essential workforce throughout the pandemic despite being among the hardest hit by the disease and the economic fallout.”

Essential Heroes: A Momento Latino Event is produced by Funny Or Die, in partnership with Momento Latino, UnbeliEVAble Entertainment and Global Philanthropy.

Netflix Releases to Premiere Christian Serratos’ “Selena: The Series” in December

Christian Serratos will be doin’ the washing machine this December…

Netflix has announced plans to release the 30-year-old Mexican American actress’ Selena: The Series, the biographical drama about Tejano music legend Selena Quintanilla, on December 4.

Christian Serratos as Selena

The premiere date announcement was made via Netflix’s Latinx social media arm Con Todo.

In a tweet with the message “Every Legend Begins With a Dream,” the premiere date was announced and a teaser trailer and poster art released.

Serratos stars as Selena, Ricardo Chavira as Abraham QuintanillaGabriel Chavarria as Selena’s brother AB, with Julio Macias, Jesse Posey, Hunter Reese Peña, and Carlos Alfredo, Jr. set as series regulars, and Juan Martinez, Daniela Estrada and Paul Rodriguez, Jr. to recur.

Selena: The Series is a coming-of-age story following Selena (Serratos) as her dreams come true and all the heart-wrenching and life-changing choices she and her family have to make as they navigate success, family, and music.

Also in the cast: Noemi Gonzalez, Seidy Lopez and Madison Taylor Baez.

Moisés Zamora is the writer/executive producer. Jaime Dávila, Rico Martinez, Suzette Quintanilla and Simran A. Singh executive produce; Campanario Entertainment is the production company. Hiromi Kamata directs part 1, which consists of six one-hour episodes.

Diane Guerrero to Star in Crypt TV’s Animated Horror Series “Woman In The Book”

Diane Guerrero is getting animated…

The 34-year-old Colombian America actress will star in Crypt TV’s first animated horror series Woman In The Book.

Diane Guerrero

The Latinx series is multilingual, using both Spanish and English, and follows the lives of three estranged siblings who reunite at an aging Mexican hacienda to wrestle for their inheritance, but inadvertently unleash a book-bound horror upon them that has plagued their family for generations.

Joining Guerrero in the series are Alfonso Herrera, Jose Ruiz-Gonzales and Bryan Greenberg.

Crypt TV is the company behind Facebook Watch’s The Birch.

Guerrero starred in DC’s Doom Patrol and Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black.

The show was developed by Crypt TV’s Daniel Persitz and is written by Eva Gonzalez Szigriszt and Pamela Garcia Rooney. Jeanette Moreno King will serve as director and will work with Jeanette Jeanenne.

Production will begin later this month and the project is set to air in early summer 2021. It is based on a 2016 Crypt TV digital series produced by Allison Vanore and written and directed by Justin Martinez, who will both serve as co-producers.

Gloria Trevi Teams Up with GLAAD to Get Out the Latinx LGBTQ Vote

Gloria Trevi is sending a highly targeted message about the importance of voting…

With the U.S. presidential election right around the corner, the 52-year-old Mexican singer-songwriter is calling on a specific segment of her fanbase to make their voices heard.

Gloria-Trevi

On Thursday, Trevi teamed up with GLAAD to share a message aimed at young Latinx LGBTQ people, where she urged her fans to get out and vote this November.

“To my dear friends in the LGBTQ community, we all know that our community leaders have the power to change many things that impact our lives,” the translation of her Spanish message said. “However, we also have the power to make change and to decide who those leaders are.”

Trevi emphasized in her message that voting is more than just a right for Americans, but something we should also recognize as an honor.

“It’s very important that everyone – LGBTQ, Latino and all communities – come together, and understand that this is not only our responsibility but a privilege,” she said. “Register to vote and exercise your right to vote.”

Along with her get out and vote message to the community, Trevi is also announcing a new partnership with GLAAD to help fund the organization’s Spanish-language work.

Every donation of $10 or more made to GLAAD here will enter fans into a sweepstakes, where they could win one of four spots on a special video call with Trevi, where the star will answer their questions in Spanish.

Bad Bunny to Kick Off Uforia’s Live Music Series with Livestream Concert

Bad Bunny’s going virtual…

The 26-year-old Puerto Rican singer Latin trap and reggaeton singer/rapper and songwriter will perform a livestream concert for Uforia‘s Music Series in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month

Bad-Bunny

Bad Bunny’s show will be live-streamed on Sunday, September 20 via UforiaMusic.com, and can also be watched on his YouTube channel.

“We are extremely excited to celebrate the richness of Latinx culture during Hispanic Heritage Month with this one-of-a-kind live streaming experience, and also commemorate the Puerto Rico community’s resilience on the third anniversary of Hurricane Maria, in partnership with Verizon” said Jesus Lara, president of radio, Univision. “We are proud to showcase the artistry of Bad Bunny who has had such a profound impact on our culture and the music industry at large.”

Bad Bunny’s performance kicks off the Uforia Music Series’ star-studded livestream concerts, which will air once a month through the end of December.

Additional dates and artist lineups will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Uforia Live livestream concert will start at 6:00 pm EDT/3:00 pm PT.